Thursday, June 9, 2011

Home Depot Installation Nightmare

So, we've been planning to get new carpet in our house for a while. It was behind time. We had builder basic beige carpet left over from the previous owners that had seen better days. In fact the last time I had it cleaned, they told us it was really time for new carpet.

Fast forward to months later when after much (much, much) deliberation and comparison. I found a carpet I really loved at Home Depot for a reasonable price. I pulled the trigger and we made our most costly (in more ways than one) home purchase to date. I thought the hard part was over.

Nope. This was only the beginning of what our we and our friends are (not so) fondly referring to as the Great Carpet Saga.

Because we were having all the carpet in our entire house replaced, we had David's brothers come over and help us move ALL of our belongings out into the garage and pull up the old carpet and pad. The new carpet was to go in on Monday, so I thought we could handle one night living like this with a 4 year old and a newborn. But even one night was hard. We discussed maybe just going to a hotel, but with spending so much on carpet, I really didn't want to plunk down more cash.

On Monday (our scheduled installation day) I was on my way home from dropping the girls off at daycare when my husband called: "They can't install the carpet."

What?! Apparently because we had tile in our kitchen and dining room, we needed to have special shims where the carpet met the tile. No one had told us this when we ordered the carpet or when someone had come out to measure. They also told us they couldn't install the downstairs carpet because the tack strips on the cement needed to be glued down. I started to hyperventilate. There is no telling when they'd be able to come back out and we definitely couldn't live like this indefinitely.

I called Home Depot and spoke to Michelle, who was very helpful and worked with installation company to have the installers go and pick-up the needed shims, install them and glue down the strips downstairs, then they would come back a few days later (after the glue had dried) to lay the downstairs carpet.

At this point, I was relieved, I thought we'd had a bit of a hiccup but now everything was under control. Nope. Silly me.

On the day the installers were supposed to come and do the downstairs, I was supposed to get a call in the morning to tell me what time they would be there. By 10am I hadn't heard anything, so I called Home Depot again. About 30 minutes later, the installation company calls and says, "Oops sorry, we forgot to put you on the schedule." They said they could squeeze us in the next day. Fine.

Friday morning the installers actually show up. Yippee! By the end of the day the carpet is down and I feel like finally the ordeal is over...And then we notice some problems. David comes home and says, "Look at this, there is a gap between the carpet and the wall on the stairs." Upon closer inspection, we also find a "bubble" under the carpet downstairs and a piece of carpet hanging off where the carpet meets the concrete floor of the laundry room. I feel like I've been had. That the installers slacked off because I was a woman and the only one home when the did the second installation. Or, at the very best the rushed the job because they were trying to squeeze us in that day.

I called Home Depot again to schedule a repair. At this point Michelle and I are on a first name basis. The manager on duty offers us a $100 refund. We are grateful, but honestly would rather just have had our carpet installed without all the hassle (plus, $100 is about 3% of what we paid).

Three weeks later (our garage still filled with most of our belongings), the carpet repair guy is scheduled to come out and fix the issues. This time David stays home. They call at 9am to say the guy will be there between 2 and 5. He arrives at 5:40. He can fix the bubble, but will have to order new carpet for the stairs and the carpet is hanging off in the laundry room because the first set of guys installed it on a broken tack strip (seemingly confirming my suspicions).

That's where we are now. We've had to miss five days of work. The process has dragged on for a month. While Home Depot had been sympathetic (or at least pretended to be, which is fine. Sometimes you just want somebody to listen), the installation company has been a nightmare to work with. They've given us the impression that they have a contract with Home Depot (the goose that lays the golden egg) and they don't care about individual customers. I'm intentionally not using the name of the installation company. From what I've learned, the installers Home Depot uses are different in different regions, so yours may be great. For our part, we've learned that while Home Depot is great for buying supplies, don't get sucked in by the seemingly too good to be true installation prices. From now on, we'll pay the extra to have someone we've researched and trust to do the actual installation.

Phew! If you'd made it this far, bless you. I just really needed to vent.

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